Psalm 56

Have mercy on me, Oh God, for my dark tendencies pursue me, all day long they try to undermine my peace
I am afraid that my own failures, my own harshness about others, my own pride will condemn me
What can I do except rely on You?
You, my God, whose Word I praise.
In You I can trust and not be afraid.
What can even I do that You cannot forgive and overcome?
You know how I struggle, how I feel attacked, betrayed, harmed
Trapped by my own darkness and doubt
I fear for my eternal life
Please, please, help me, save me
Don’t let me disappear into my own darkness
What do I have to offer You except my tears
(not even blood, toil and sweat – just tears)
My dark enemies will vanish in Your light
You, my God, whose Word I praise
You, my God, whose Word I praise
In You I can trust and not be afraid
What can even I do that You cannot forgive and overcome
I want to be faithful to You, God
I want to live thankfully not fearfully
I want to remember that You have delivered me from death
You keep me from stumbling into pits of my own making
So that I walk before You in the Light of Your Eternal Life. Amen.

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Psalm 57

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy
For in You my soul takes refuge
I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings when disaster threatens
I cry out to You, God most high, help me live Your purpose for me
You came from heaven to save me, saving me from my terrible Ds
You – in infinite love and never-failing faithfulness
I feel like I am in the midst of ravenous lions – and that’s when I am alone
My peace of mind is shattered as if by spears and arrows
My own tongue can be like a sharp sword
What a contrast my moaning and troubles are to Your exalted place of peace
O God, above the heavens, Your glory is wide enough to cover me, to hide me
Yet I feel trapped in a net of my own making
Bowed down by my faults, sinking into a pit of doubt and despair
Please give me a steadfast heart, O God,
Let me sing and make music with a light heart
Awake, oh my soul, awake, sweet music of my soul
Awake to dawning Light
God of Light, I want to praise You all my days: days that You have blessed
For great is Your love, reaching beyond heaven and earth
Beyond life and death, beyond right and wrong
Great is Your faithfulness, staying beyond my doubts
So You are exalted, O God, above the heavens
Your glory wide enough to cover me. Amen.

Psalm 58

I know, God, that there is little justice in my judgments
Pettiness, spite, envy, narrow-mindedness, fear
Misunderstanding, hurt, anger, simple tiredness
Too often these are the enemies of fairness and love
Too often my judgments of others, and myself, are like a snake’s venom
Like a lion’s ripping teeth
Please, God, wash away these unjust and unworthy judgments
Blunt them, crush, them, still them
Sweep them away in the flood of Your righteousness
Then I can be glad in Your salvation of all, Your love for all, even me
Then again I will testify all my days
Surely there is a God who judges the earth and saves us all. Amen.

Psalm 59

Ah, again, God, please – You know well what I need
I am weak but You are strong; I am child but You are God
So deliver me already, bring me back to You
Defend me from my own darkness
The darkness that wants to eat my life, swallow my faith
Always, always, it lies in wait, just beyond my last prayer
When I chose mindless entertainment over thoughtful peace
When I wander in my purpose, my thoughts, my life
When I lie in bed, sleepless at night, reluctant to wake in the morning
When those dark and dangerous Ds overwhelm me
When I feel sorry for myself – what have I done to deserve this?
Don’t I get easy happiness? Don’t I get lasting peace?
Don’t I get to love and be loved?
You are God, aren’t You? Mighty God of Israel
So rouse Yourself and do – again – for me what I cannot do for myself
Night after night, day after day, I feel attacked and deserted
My thoughts taste sour; my feelings sting like nettles
I give up
But You, You never give up. You, You, if I could only remember
Remember to watch for You, go to You
Where is my strength, where is my resolve, where is my memory
Gone, all gone
God, God, God, please, please, please, come
Defeat my darkness with Your light
But let me remember the darkness so that I may know
Know that my only safety is hiding in You
Destroy my lies, destroy my pity, destroy my doubts, destroy my pride
Destroy my despair, destroy my anger, destroy my aloneness
Let me know, now and forever, that You rule over my life
Ah, but I will forget, won’t I? I will descend, again, to the tomb
I will wallow, I will sludge, I will drown, I will moan
And You will have to rescue me again
Once and for all, Hebrews says. You did it once and for all
But for me it is one more time, again and again
After my night, comes Your dawn
You open my eyes to see Your light again
You open my mouth to sing Your song again
You open my life to live Your grace again
You are my strength, I sing praise to You
You are my God, my fortress
You are God, on You I rely.
Amen.

Psalm 60

Old images speak to me of God being elsewhere – anywhere but with me
I may not know the geography, but I know the feeling
I thought You would win all my battles for me, God
Forever, once and for all
I thought You would conquer my enemies, banish them
So that I would be at peace always, living in Your sight, Your light
But, no, oh no, instead I am left to wonder where You have gone
Why You leave me to the merciless mercy of my demons and darkness
Come on, God, if You’re angry with me, get over it
You haven’t given up on me, have You?
Left me to desperation, to drown my sorrows, to truthquakes and night terrors
Save me, help me, let me revel in the light of Your love for me and mine for You
Let me live in landscapes shaped by Your might, Your right, Your love, Your salvation
If not You, then who? If not in Your presence, then where? If not by Your strength and righteousness, then how?
Answer me, I beg You for I am worthless in this battle; alone, I am already defeated
But with You, with You, I will claim victory
I will plant Your peace when You trample the weeds of my mind. Amen

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God of unfailing love
O God of great compassion
Blot out my troublesome doubts and despair
Wash away all my dark thoughts
Cleanse my selfish feelings
For I know my worst tendencies
They are always before me
They lead me away from Your peace and light
Into turmoil and darkness
I begin to doubt and fear Your righteousness, Your judgment
It becomes easier to believe that You don’t exist
That You are a creation of human beings
I am not alone in this, surely
It seems to be pretty common among all people
This turning from You
Yet You remain
From before I was, from when I first was
Through my life and past it
The psalmist says that You taught us wisdom
In the secret place of the womb
Maybe, but I forget it too easily
In the public places of my life
So I’m back, again, asking for Your compassion
Wash away my mind’s dark stains
Let my thoughts turn to rejoicing, to joy, to gladness
Help me to turn away, as You turn away, from darkness and selfishness
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me
Don’t desert me; don’t let me forget that I need You
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
Turn my self-centered pride into a God-centered willing spirit
That will sustain me
Then maybe, just maybe, I can remember You in my dark times
I can turn back to You when I feel low and unloved
When I feel defeated by my own negativity, hurt and anger
Deliver me from my crushing feelings of inadequacy and despair
O God, You are my Savior, my only hope
Let my mind and heart sing of Your righteousness
Then my words, my life will reflect Your goodness, will declare Your praise
You do not delight in my fears, my withdrawal from life
You take no pleasure in watching me undermine myself
I will draw away from doubt and despair, from selfishness and pride
I will come to You for peace and security, for love and hope
May it please You to draw me ever more into Your castle
Ever nearer to Your bright throne
Surrounded by Your great glowing cloud of witnesses
I can let Your light devour my darkness. Amen.

Psalm 52

Why do I take pride in the wrong things and think myself better than others?
I fool myself, I tear myself down by such thoughts
I get everything backwards, I value the worthless and throw away the precious
Too easily my thoughts become words, disparaging words, hurtful words, that can’t be unsaid
God, Sovereign, You can stop me, You can turn me from such thoughts
You can give me Your righteousness so that I can laugh at myself, appreciate my own absurdity
Do I want to depend upon the strength of money and reputation, both of which can be stolen and destroyed?
Or, like the olive tree, do I want to flourish drawing life and strength from God’s unfailing richness?
From God’s love forever and ever
Do this for me, please God, that I may praise You forever
Hoping always in Your name, trusting always in Your love
Flourishing always in Your goodness, praising You always. Amen.